Thomas Bookhamer



“The Leaders Journey Agile Program”


The mindset shift from directing to connecting is one of the most valuable
and effective shifts you will ever make as a leader!



Seven Mindset Shifts from Directing to Connecting

My intention in this ebook is to provide a new awareness while encouraging you to think into the results you may be experiencing through the management practice of directing people.

The mindset shift from directing to connecting is one of the most valuable and effective shifts you will ever make as a leader!

The results of connecting are the opposite of directing:


The mindset shift to connecting is counter intuitive. It is far easier to just tell people what to do!

Have you ever stopped to consider the level of effort people are willing to give when they are told what to do?

People buy into you, then your vision!

Even if this is not the intention… your org-chart may be set up to support a directive work culture instead of a leadership culture of innovation.


Let's recognize that many of our organizations are set up to be directed from the top down. Expectations are set up by a structure or pattern of rules, titles, policies, and authority. Titles are given and expectations are established through an authority structure. Are you investing the time and effort to step out of the org chart and connect with your people?

Directing others seems very natural for most of us. Allow me to be clear here, I want you to hear my heart. I am not saying as leaders we should never give people direction. It is important to agree on guidelines, instructions, processes, and expectations.

The question becomes, are you allowing your team to take ownership of the value they provide every day? Are you creating a culture of innovation and influence or one of authority?

You will know this by looking at their results. Are they contributing new innovative ideas and ways to reduce waste, improve quality, and reduce cost? Are you providing a work culture of innovation?

I ask you, do you want to be followed because you have the authority or because you have influence? Connecting increases your influence, moving you away from a management culture of authority.

How then do we establish a work culture of innovation, accountability, and ownership?

How do we shift to a new paradigm – A mindset Shift 

Remember coaching is NOT giving advice, NOT directive…


During one of my recent onsite client contracts, I intentionally identified a few manager level individuals who exhibited the following: Awareness > Desire > Intentional Action > and Commitment to an evolution of their career that better aligned with the future state of organizational leadership. They intentionally started on their Leaders Journey! 


The desire was to move their career from directing to connecting; to evolve from managing to coaching (leading). 

We accomplished this following the 4 Values of The Leaders Journey and through shared experience, leadership training, and coaching training. 

The real joy for me was to see how these managers’ professional engagement came ALIVE! As a result, EVERYONE was growing! 

This is a much bigger conversation, and we will need to talk more about this. For now, you tell me. Is there value in this awareness? Is your awareness changing? Is this a Mindset Shift for you? There are many, many, benefits to this evolution. I’m happy to deep dive into them with you. Connect with me anytime. 

I want to recognize the potential $$ SAVINGS in evolving managers into agile coaches or leaders. Agile Coaches are typically expensive contractors! I know, I have been one for better than 20 years. What would the benefit be if we were to evolve managers to coaches? For those of you not interested in agile, please note this evolution is not specific to agile. We are evolving from directing to connecting ... from authority to influence. This is the Leaders Journey.

It is my belief that future management practices will look more like coaching skills. Understanding that most agile coaches are highly paid contractors, consider the financial savings to your organization if you were to achieve this evolution.


First, let's recognize that connecting takes energy. Connecting with people takes commitment and requires that you believe in them! This is often why connecting is skipped in the first place. It's much easier to just tell someone what to do. It's easier to find a way that works and create a policy or process than revisit the results and look for a better way.


Key attributes of connecting:

Listening to understand is likely the most powerful and effective way to connect. Notice I did not say, listening to hear. I intentionally said, listen to understand! When you do, people will know that you care.

Create a listening environment by creating opportunities to listen:

You will be amazed by what others may teach you if you will listen to understand.

Too many leaders lead by assumption. They assume they know where their people are without ever asking them. Asking questions is an amazing way to connect. Let’s look at the contrast between these two styles.


DIRECTING: Authoritative - Talking - Top-Down - Enlisting - Assuming - Gives Awareness - My Agenda 

CONNECTING: Collaborative - Listening - Side-by-Side - Empowering - Understanding - Ask Questions - Their Agenda 

Who is responsible for connecting?
It is the responsibility of the leader to connect with others. As a leader, you must put out the energy required to connect. Far too many leaders get this backward. 

In the same way, far too many leaders also think it is the responsibility of the follower to understand what they are communicating. Remember when I said, connecting was a communication shift? It is a leaders’ goal to be clear in their communication even to the extent of crafting the message to the communication style of the listener. A leader must be aware of the clarity and understanding of their message. 

It is not the responsibility of the follower to figure out what a leader is trying to communicate. The same goes for connecting. It is the leader who must own this effort. This is often times an intentional shift in communication style. 

If you desire to be the best leader you are capable of being, you must learn to connect with others. Find ways to overcome the challenge of connecting and finding common ground. This will take time, commitment, and practice. Where do you start? Here are seven mindset shifts for you to consider when you are making the effort to connect with someone


1. HUMILITY... Let people know you need them!

Humility is essential when connecting with people. Good leaders are aware that they need others. Keep your ego in check.

I remember coaching a leader that lived in the belief of many leadership myths; he thought he had to have all the answers, had to be right, could not make mistakes, had to know where the organization was going, had to appear to be in control. No one ever even saw him with his hair messed up. He was amazing! 

When I transparently shared with him that his people found it hard to approach him, he was devastated. His followers had placed him on a pedestal. Thankfully, he did not want to be on that pedestal. This was understandable because he was a great guy, and he cared about everyone. However, his followers were afraid to approach him. Why? He had not put in the work to connect. They saw him as he presented himself to be… a person that did not make mistakes. The rest of us flawed people did not desire to expose ourselves to someone who was perfect. When this leader began to expose his limitations to his team they literally embraced him. When he humbled himself and began letting them see that he too was growing and that he needed them, everything changed!

2. CURIOSITY... Ask People Questions! 

When I began to realize the importance of asking questions, I found it hard to come up with good questions, let alone the right questions. My mentor, John Maxwell says, “Good leaders ask great questions and GREAT leaders ask the right questions”. 

I found this to be difficult until I adopted a mindset shift to curiosity! Have you ever spent time around young kids? I'm talking 2-8 years of age. Wow, they ask a lot of questions about everything! They live in a mindset of adventure and curiosity! Are you curious about what your team needs to be successful? Are you curious about how you can help them achieve their goals? 


Start by asking yourself more questions! Start by being curious about what you want to achieve and the best way to do so. How do others see you? Ask yourself, how do you desire others to see you? Do they see you as approachable? What do you desire for them? Do you want them to grow? Do you want them to succeed?

Too many leaders don’t ask enough questions about themselves or others! Make the effort to connect. Be curious. You will be amazed at what people will teach you if you believe in them and ask!

3. EFFORT... Go out of your way to connect with others!

It is far easier to direct people and just tell them what to do. Connecting with others requires effort, energy, believing in them, and intentional commitment.

Every real relationship starts with a decision to make the effort to connect.

4. TRUSTWORTHINESS... Be someone others can count on! People do NOT connect with someone they do not trust.

People do not buy-into what you do, they buy-into why you do it. 

“Why” exposes your motives. People will know from watching, why you do things. If you actually think you are hiding your personal agenda I have new awareness for you… they already know what you are up to! If you truly want to connect and/or care about them they will know it. Trust is exposed in three areas of your life:


When you make a mistake… admit it… let people know you need them… humility. Don’t break their trust in you. Be trustworthy! They will forgive you and understand when you make mistakes, they may not forgive you if you break their trust.

5. GENEROSITY... Give first, give continually!

Albert Einstein said, “A person starts life when they can live outside of themselves.”

Begin your journey of connecting with a generous heart. Be a generous leader and people will connect with you.

6. LISTENING... Open the best door to connecting with people!

A question is an open door to new awareness, understanding, and connecting!

Have you ever been in a situation as a leader or coach where someone is not a listener? Have you ever met someone who is simply not teachable or coachable? Of course, you have!

I am the dad and coach/mentor to three sons who are now amazing men with their own families and are successful, contributing citizens of our world. I do remember when they were teenagers, and I would try to mentor them only to hear... I know, Dad. I remember getting to the point where in response to this attitude I began to simply walk away. Thankfully their response was, wait where are you going? To this, I would reply, if you already know, why do I need to tell you?

As a coach, I have observed many conversations (attempts at communication) where one person is patiently waiting for the other to finish so they may expound their agenda. This is not a conversation. This is not successful communication. This is not connecting! This is a one-way dialog, and no one is receiving any value.

Sadly, there are plenty of people you will come across that are not listeners or are unwilling to listen. If you have ever experienced something like this then you know what it is like to not listen.


NOT LISTENING. Take intentional action right now to find ways to listen. Raise your self-awareness, you can do this!

Here are some things you can do today:

7. ENCOURAGEMENT... Give people oxygen for their souls! 

As leaders, we must NEVER underestimate the value of reminding others that we need them.

All any of us have to offer is our own unique awareness and experiences.

That means we can all learn from one another, we all have value, and we all need one another! None of us will ever have a life of significance alone! We all need mentors, coaches, leaders, friends, teams, and family in our lives!

When you interact with others what is your mindset? Is it your intention to CORRECT OR CONNECT?

Believe in others! Encourage others! Connect with others!

The mindset shift from directing to connecting is one of the most valuable shifts you will ever make as a leader!

Value #2 of the four values of a Leader's Journey is to Connect with Others. Here's how it fits into the Leaders Journey Value Statement

To achieve increased effectiveness and greater influence you must add value to others. To add value to others, you must connect with others. To connect with others, you must move from me to we!


The four values of a leaders journey are:

Are you ready to learn more about the cultural shift from directing to connecting?

Has your awareness changed? Do you have a different perception of leadership? Are you looking at your organization or agile transformation differently? Are you ready to raise your leadership ability? Are you ready to grow?

You’re reading this eBook, so you have already begun.

The Leaders Journey Agile Program is as much about learning from you and your shared experience and contributions as it is about adding value to you.

Be intentional about your future! You are in the right place.


The stage is set! It’s time for you to start your Leaders Journey!
Strap in… your awareness is about to expand.
Here we go!

Through intentional action this will be your Leaders Journey! I invite you to learn more about the Leaders Journey Agile Program.


Agile Transformation through Masterminds

The CORE TRAINING of this program will guide you through


I am dedicated to equipping leaders, directors, managers, and coaches – JUST LIKE YOU! If you are ready to put in the work, then I would like to work with you.



One of the challenges we all face is how to message this new awareness to our co-leaders and peers. I CAN HELP WITH THAT!

I’ve been doing interviews with leaders just like you for years, resulting in the development of a series of awareness resources.

My awareness resources combine to provide you with an effective strategy to leverage increased awareness and the advancement of your organization’s culture and ultimately, your career.

So, here’s where you start!

Use these complimentary resources to raise your awareness and start this conversation with your leaders!

Get on a strategy call with me, and in addition to answering all your questions, I will share recent case studies and cost analyses that confirm how you can position your organizational culture and career to accelerate the iterative delivery practices of agile. ​​

How?... through an internal initiative of AWARENESS and EQUIPPING to COMPETENCY. Ready to achieve; increased engagement, lower transformation costs, employee retention, and marketplace responsiveness.​ Advance your career and culture by participating in masterminds designed to equip leaders with agile coaching, leadership, and communication skills.

Without question… we need to talk.

I know this is important to your career. I know this is important to those you lead. Without question, this is important to your organization!

What’s NEXT? I’ve spent years developing and proving this program. If you are ready to take intentional action and put in the work, then I want to work with you!


Take Intentional Action Today!

Action #1: Let’s Talk!

Positioning organizational culture and your career to accelerate the iterative delivery practices of agile is worth talking about.

I’m doing it differently and the results are worth talking about! Even better, the results are from people JUST LIKE YOU… their results are worth talking about!

I will share recent case studies and cost analyses with you that will confirm that you can achieve increased engagement and lower transformation cost.

Action #2: Awareness Resources

All transformation begins with NEW AWARENESS! I have been doing interviews with leaders JUST LIKE YOU for years and have developed a series of awareness tools. 

We all know the conversation about how organizational culture influences our agile delivery teams is a hard conversation to get on the calendar. I CAN HELP WITH THAT!

These complimentary awareness resources have two intentional purposes. (1) to raise your awareness. (2) to provide you with tools to start this conversation with you leaders!

I’m Thomas – keep elevating your thoughts! Use this link to get your complimentary awareness resources.

About the Author

Thomas Bookhamer is a well-respected, highly sought-after, professional coach in the agile and leadership communities. His career of over 25 years has included coaching thousands of people from all over the US and worldwide.

His passion is coaching and mentoring others on how to move forward on their Leaders Journey.

He strives to live out his belief that values should be reflected in your behavior, and that everyone should think into their life’s purpose and allow it to define their goals.

He believes that we should all strive to reach our own potential and not the potential prescribed by others.

When you meet him, you will come to know that he believes in YOU.